Author Archives: tara

May Weather FoodCast on LMFM: Asparagus Season is here!

What a treat Gerry & I had going to Drummond House Garlic to pick new season asparagus! Listen here and see the recipes below:

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Clogher Head Prawns with Drummond House Asparagus & Saffron Aioli


No Hassle Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Pasta (Forgot to get a shot before Gerry tucked in!)

Drummond House New Season Asparagus & Clogher Head Prawns


Asparagus, cut in half, woody ends removed






Chives (if possible)

For the Asparagus: Arrange all the asparagus on a tray or platter & drizzle with oil & season with salt & pepper

Place on the BBQ or griddle pan and allow to cook for a few minutes on each side until charred and cooked through. Splash a little water or lemon juice on if they are becoming too charred before they have softened.

For the Prawns: Place the prawns in a pot and cover with cold water and add a slice of lemon.  Bring to the boil and remove to a colander immediately. They should have just turned opaque with a pinkish colour. Be careful not to overcook. Cool immediately by pouring cold water over.

For the Aioli:  Toast the saffron in a pan and grind down into a powder in a pestle & mortar. Mix with the mayo,garlic & a splash of lemon juice)

Place an asparagus spear on top of a prawn and use a chive to tie the two together. You can either dip in to the aioli or dollop a little on top.

No Hastle Smoked Salmon Pasta


1200g pack of Smoked Salmon

150 ml Crème Fraiche

150g Peas or Asparagus

200g Penne or Tagiatelle

Squeeze of lemon juice


Boil the pasta according to the pack instructions keeping a ladle full of cooking water to one side before you drain the water.

Return pasta to the still warm cooking pot and add the crème fraiche, smoked salmon and asparagus with the cooking liquid.  Turn the heat on gently and stir to ensure all the ingredients are wound through.

Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

If using asparagus add it to the pasta for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time.

Vegetarian Recipes on TV3’s Sunday AM

Healthy Nachos & Potato & Spinach Curry from my book, Good Food No Stress

Potato & Spinach Curry Small File

Watch the clip for the Nachos here

and the Potato & Spinach Curry here


Potato & Spinach Curry

Healthier Nachos

2  tortilla  wraps (wholemeal or corn)

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp freshly ground coriander (optional)

1/2 tbsp freshly ground cumin (optional)

½ tsp salt

A large handful of grated cheese (strong cheddar is best)

Preheat the oven to 220’C.

Cut the tortillas into 8 wedges, place in a big bowl and toss together with the olive oil, spices (if using) and salt.  Spread out flat on a baking tray and cook in the hot oven for about 3-4 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and switch the grill on. Sprinkle with the cheese and place under the hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. Spoon the mango salsa over.





Baba Ghanoush


2 aubergines

2 tblsp tahini

Juice of ½ a Lemon

3 cloves of garlic

A bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

A glug of olive oil

Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 180˚C

Brush a baking tray lightly with olive oil

Slice the aubergines in half lengthways and place face down on the tray

Bake for about an hour or until soft

When they are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the aubergines and place in a food processor with all the other ingredients

Whizz for a few seconds and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary

Lovely served with flat breads or pittas, lightly oiled, seasoned with zataar, Baharat or harissa and toasted.

Whipped Feta

100g Feta Cheese                                      Combine in a food processor and adjust

100g Mascarpone                                       seasoning with salt & pink peppercorns

Juice of ½ a lemon

A good glug of Olive Oil

Optional if you can be bothered: add 1 shallot & 1 clove of garlic to the food processor

Potato & Spinach Curry with Raita

1 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 tblsp tomato puree

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

350g potatoes, peeled & cubed

200g spinach leaves, washed

400 ml vegetable stock

To serve: a handful of toasted flaked almonds, a couple of dollops of natural yoghurt & some chopped coriander.

For the curry paste:

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Coriander seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp tamarind paste

A thumb-sized piece of ginger

1 tblsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp sea salt

1 tblsp ground nut oil

For the raita:

Combine & check for seasoning

1 small tub natural yogurt
Fresh mint, finely chopped
1 cucumber

1 clove garlic,minced or chopped finely

lemon juice

½ a teaspoon of ground cumin


To make the curry paste, place the dry spices on a frying pan and toast gently

Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind with the sea salt

Add the rest of the ingredients to a food processor and blitz with the dry spice mixture until you have a smooth paste.

To make the curry, heat a heavy based saucepan and add a glug of the groundnut oil. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and sweat with a lid on for a few minutes until softened

Add the curry paste, tomato puree  and cook out for a couple of minutes. Then add the potatoes & garlic.

Add the vegetable stock and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes have softened.

Finally, add the spinach in for the final 2 minutes of cooking.

Top with a dollop of raita, some of the toasted flaked almonds and the coriander to serve.

January FoodCast: Beef & Guinness Stew with Colcannon on LMFM Radio

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It’s January folks and time for a comforting bowl of hearty Beef & Guinness Stew with Colcannon. This recipe makes plenty for 6 people but do increase the quantity and make extra to put by for another day if you’re feeding a gang! Any leftover Colcannon is gorgeous turned into a potato cake with poached or fried egg for tea the next day.

Beef & Guinness Stew

I think every cook should have a beef stew recipe.  This is not the type of recipe that you are going to make after a stressful day at work, but a nice one for a cold afternoon in the winter when you have some time.  Again make a bigger portion of the stew and use the leftovers for a midweek meal.


(Serves 6-8)


1kg Shin Beef, trimmed & cut into large bite size pieces

2 carrots, cut into chunks

2 onions, quartered

2 sticks of celery, cut into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon Tomato Puree

1 tablespoon flour

Bouquet Garni

A few black peppercorns

500ml can of Guinness

500ml Beef Stock

100g whole button mushrooms



Preheat the oven to 160˚C , 150˚C Fan, Gas mark 3

When you are ready to cook the beef, heat the oil in a large casserole over a fairly high heat. Brown the beef on all sides and then remove to a plate

Reduce the heat and add the veg with a little salt

Cover and cook for 5-10 mins or until the veg has softened

Stir the tomato puree and flour into the casserole and cook out for a minute or two

Put the beef back into the casserole and add the guinness and stock with the bouquet garni

Cover and place in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours hours or until the beef is so tender it is almost falling apart.

Remove the beef to a warmed pie dish to rest

In the meantime, cook the mushrooms by heating some oil in a frying pan and frying the mushrooms over a fairly high heat until golden brown. A teaspoon of brown sugar can really help with the caramelisaton of the mushrooms! Add the mushrooms to the finished stew and stir through.

If you would like to turn it into a pie, place the stew into a pie dish. Increase the temperature of your oven to 200˚C, 180˚C Fan, Gas Mark 6

Wet the rim of the pie dish with your finger and place the pastry on top. Press the edges between your thumb and forefinger to make a nice pattern and to make sure the pastry sticks to the dish. You can also cut out a nice pattern from the leftover pieces of pastry.Poke a few holes in the pastry with a fork and brush all over with the egg. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden and puffed up.





4/6 Rooster potatoes

½ head of Savoy Cabbage, finely sliced

2 spring onions,  finely chopped

2 tablespoons of Real butter

3 tablespoons of Milk

Salt and White Pepper



Peel and halve the potatoes and boil in cold water. In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add the cabbage with a couple of teaspoons of water. Cook for 2/3 minutes, stirring every now and then until softened. Set aside until the potatoes are cooked.

When the potatoes are soft, test with knife and drain well. Cover with a teatowel for a minute or two to dry out.

Mash well and add the milk, cabbage mixture, spring onions and seasoning.


Traditional Christmas Cake on TV3

Mini Christmas Cakes

Mini Christmas Cakes



Traditional Christmas Cake

Watch the clip on TV3 here and see the recipe below!

Traditional Christmas Cake

This is a traditional cake that matures nicely with “feeding” which means adding a little alcohol (we are using sherry) every week or so. It’s best to make this at least 4 weeks before Christmas as the flavour mellows and the cake becomes rich and moist.

 You will need:

1 x 9” cake tin

1 x roll baking paper

Some string



 225g Sultanas

  • 225g Raisins
  • 110g Candied Peel
  • 75g Dates
  • 75g Apricots
  • 50g Currants
  • 25g Crystallized Ginger
  • 125mls Sherry
  • 175g Butter
  • 250g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • Juice and Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 250g of Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon of ground allspice
  • ¼ Teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon of mixed spice




Grease your tin generously and base line. Line the sides with the baking paper, coming up to twice the height of the tin. Cut out a circular piece of the paper to place on the top later. Wrap a layer or baking paper around the sides and secure with string.


  1. Place the sultanas, raisins, candied peel, dates, apricots, currants and crystallized ginger into a bowl.
  2. Pour sherry over and mix thoroughly
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 150˚C , 140˚C Fan, Gas mark 2


  1. Place the fruit into a wide bottomed pot with the sugar, butter, orange juice and zests
  2. Bring to the boil gently and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then
  3. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger and stir
  5. Add the beaten eggs
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin
  7. Bake for 2 hours, checking after 30 mins to see if you need to place the circular layer of baking paper on top to prevent it from getting too dark.
  8. Check the cake is ready by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready, if the skewer comes out wet they need to be returned to the oven
  9. When it is ready, poke a few holes in the top of the cake and feed it with a couple of teaspoons of sherry. Leave to cool in the tin.
  10. Remove from the tin and wrap tightly in baking paper and then a couple of layers of tin foil. “Feed” it every week or so until you are ready to ice it. Don’t feed it too close to the icing stage as you want the top of it to be dry for the icing.



Almond Paste/Marzipan


100g Icing Sugar plus a little extra to dust on work surface

100g Golden Caster Sugar

200g ground Almonds

A couple of drops of Almond Extract

1 tablespoon of Whiskey

(For later: 2 tablespoons Apricot Jam)


Place a pot with a couple of inches of boiling water on the hob. Place a heatproof bowl over and add the sugars. With an electric whisk, add the egg and whisk for 2-3minutes or until light and fluffy. If you don’t have an electric whisk, do it manually for about 5  minutes.

Remove the bowl from the pot and add the almond extract and whiskey, whisking all the time. Add the ground almonds now and tip the mixture out onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead the mixture until it comes together to form a paste.

Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is about 1cm or less in thickness.

To place on the cake:

Heat the apricot jam in a pot (about 2 tablespoons) with a teaspoon of water.

Brush it lightly around the surface of the cake.

Use a piece of string to measure the cake and use this to measure how wide the marzipan needs to be. Make it a little bigger.

Use your rolling pin to gently carry the marzipan over to the cake and drape on carefully. Place your hands around the edge of the cake and gently press the side in. Trim the excess around the base.

Allow to dry out for a week before icing it. Keep well wrapped and stored in a cool place.

To ice with fondant icing:

  • Using icing sugar on your work surface to prevent sticking, roll out the icing using the tin you have made the cake in as a guide. Cut out the icing so that it is bigger than the cake (allowing enough for the side of the cakes to be covered)
  • Place the icing over the cake and tuck in at the bottom, trimming as necessary.
  • Decorate however you wish!


Lunchbox Ideas on LMFM!

LunchboxLunchbox 2Mini Frittata CupsLunchbox Ideas


Mini Frittata Cups 


3 eggs

50ml Cream

Any fillings you fancy such as grated parmesan, ham, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, herbs, bacon, tomatoes or my favourite combo: feta, mint & sautéed courgettes.

1 Wholemeal Wrap

A glug of olive oil

Cupcake tray


Preheat the oven to 180˚C, 160˚C Fan or gas mark 4. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut circles from the wholemeal wrap that are slightly bigger than the cupcake moulds in the tray. Place these circles into each one.

Whisk the eggs with the cream in a jug or bowl with pouring spout. Season & add whatever fillings you fancy.

Pour the mixture about two thirds of the way up to the top of the cupcake cases and bake for about 10mins or until puffed up and cooked through.


For each quesadilla, you will need:

2 corn tortillas

Some grated cheese (about 50g)

A tablespoon of sour cream

A selection of fillings such as: ham, spring onion, peppers, chilli, leftover chicken, coriander

To make:

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tortilla. Sprinkle your filling over it evenly and top with the second tortilla.

Toast gently for a couple of minutes, using a spatula to check the underneath is not burning.

When the cheese has melted, it will be easier to flip the quesadilla over in the pan to toast the other side.

When it is golden brown all over, remove to a chopping board and cut into wedges.

Serve with the sour cream.


1 avocado, ripe & chopped roughly

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of ½ a  lime

Small handful of fresh coriander

Red chilli, deseeded & chopped finely. How much is up to you!

A pinch of sea salt flakes

Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl until all are combined. Taste of seasoning and adjust the balance if necessary

Sweetcorn Salsa

100g sweetcorn

1 small red onion chopped VERY FINELY

2 tsp white wine vinegar

Optional: chopped green chilli

A glug of olive oil

½ a teaspoon of sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl at least 10 MINUTES before serving to allow the sugar to dissolve and for the flavours to develop a little. Stir well and serve with the quesadillas.



½ a tin of Chickpeas

1 tblsp tahini

A spritz of Lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, chopped or minced

A pinch of cayenne pepper

A glug of olive oil

Salt to taste


In a food processor, or by hand, mash the chickpeas with the tahini, then add the garlic, cayenne and a pinch of salt.

Drizzle in the olive oil  & spritz of lemon juice until it is the consistency you require.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Lovely served with flat breads or pittas, lightly oiled, seasoned with zataar, Baharat or harissa and toasted.

Smoked Salmon Roll-up


1 wholemeal wrap

100g Smoked Salmon Slices

50g Cream Cheese

1 tsp Lemon Zest

A spritz of Lemon Juice

A handful of Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt & Pepper


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl apart from the smoked salmon and wrap. Taste for seasoning

Spread the cream cheese mix over the wrap, ensuring it is spread right out to the sides. Top with the smoked salmon and roll up, not as you would a wrap but concentrically.

Light, healthy & summery on TV3- Fragrant Pea Soup & Salmon Chow Mein

Two light and healthy dishes on Sunday AM this week! Watch the Fragrant Pea Soup here and the Salmon Chow Mein here

Fragrant Pea & Lemongrass Soup

Pea Soup 4

(Serves 4-6)



1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 red chilli

2 stalks of lemongrass

A thumbsized piece of ginger

850 ml chicken or vegetable stock

450 g fresh or frozen peas

A glug of rapeseed oil

Nam Pla Fish Sauce

A spritz of fresh lime juice

Some fresh coriander

Optional: a little crème fraiche


Place the onion, garlic, lemongrass, chilli and ginger in a food processor and blitz until well chopped.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan,  add the blitzed veg sweat over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Pour in the stock, and bring the soup to the boil.

Add the peas and bring the liquid back to the boil. The peas do not need to be cooked any more than this or they can lose their vibrancy.

Blitz with a stick blender  until fairly smooth . Season with the Nam Pla & lime juice, checking the flavour. Top with the coriander and a little crème fraiche if desired.

Healthy Salmon Chow Mein

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(Serves 4)

For the sauce:

Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tsp tomato puree

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 lime for squeezing

For the noodles:

1 large red pepper, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

A large handful of mangetout, washed

A large handful of beansprouts, washed

2 salmon fillets, sliced lengthways

2 nests of medium egg noodles

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

To Garnish: A few fresh Coriander leaves & Sesame Seeds, toasted.


  1. Put the garlic & ginger in a bowl and add the tomato puree, oyster sauce, soy sauce, 3 tbsp water and stir
  1. Boil a large pan of water on the hob. When the water is boiling, drop in the noodles, turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 mins. Drain in a colander or a large sieve in the sink
  1. With everything prepared, you can now start cooking. Heat the wok – it’s hot enough when it starts to smoke.
  1. Add the oil and lay the slices of salmon on the wok carefully, ensuring all the pieces of salmon are in contact with the pan.
  1. Use a spatula to gently keep moving the salmon around the wok until it is half cooked. Add the pepper and mange tout and stir-fry for a further min.
  1. Pour the sauce into the wok and allow to bubble.
  1. Add the noodles, beansprouts and spring onions, then toss into the sauce until it is well coated, stirring constantly until the beansprouts wilt. Add lime juice & check for seasoning. Adjust with soy sauce if necessary.
  1. Serve in bowls – an easy way is to use tongs
  1. Garnish with the coriander & sesame seeds.

July Weather Foodcast on LMFM- Fast Fresh Fish!

It was all about lovely fresh fish this month. Here are some imaginative ways to serve up a healthy fish dish! Listen to the full feature here

Indian Style Mackerel with Gooseberry Chutney & Grape Salad



Serves 4

4 mackerel, filleted, pin bones removed

For the spice paste:

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cardamom powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½  tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp allspice

½ tsp chilli flakes

Gooseberry Chutney:

75g gooseberries

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tsp punch phoran (equal quantities cumin seed,  fenugreek, fennel seed, black mustard seed & cumin seed)

20ml red wine vinegar

1 tblsp brown sugar

salt to taste

For the Salad:

About 10 green grapes

1 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan then crushed

a handful of  fresh coriander

1 tsp olive oil


Mix all the ingredients for the spice paste together in a bowl.  Apply and smear the paste well on the fish fillets .Cook the fish in a hot oven for 7-10 mins or heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan, add the mackerel and fry for about 2-3 mins on each side, until just cooked through.

For the chutney, heat oil in a pan. Add punch phoran-sauté until it crackles.

Add the gooseberries and the vinegar

Cook for 10-15 mins until chutney is cooked and sticky. Cool and serve with the fish.

Mix all the ingredients for the salad together and toss well. Serve the fish, chutney & salad together.

Crab Claws in a Garlic Cream Sauce


(Makes enough sauce about 12 claws)


Crab Claws, cooked

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Some parsley, finely chopped

A spritz of lemon juice

A glug of olive oil

100 ml whipping cream


Place a little oil into a frying pan and heat to medium. Place the chopped garlic in the pan with a little salt. Cook for a moment and then add the crab claws. Toss in the garlic and add the cream. Allow to bubble up for a few minutes until it is thickened. Avoid stirring. Place in small bowls or ramekins and add to platter. Serve immediately.

Thai Fish Cakes

Thai fishcakes


200g white fish fillets, no skin (such as cod or haddock)

2 teaspoons Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 clove of garlic

A thumbsized piece of ginger, grated

1 small egg, beaten

Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped


Serves 4 as a starter





  1. Slice the fish into chunks
  2. Put the fish into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients, holding some of the egg back
  3. Blitz for about 10 secs
  4. Check the mixture has bound together and add more of the egg if necessary, blitz again if needed


  1. Divide the mixture into about 10 cakes


  1. Heat a frying pan and add a couple of tablespoons of oil
  2. Fry fishcakes over a medium heat in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side
  3. When they are golden brown, drain on kitchen paper
  4. Serve with a few green salad leaves and the chilli crème fraiche


Chilli Crème Fraiche Sauce


2 tablespoons crème fraiche

4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce


Combine ingredients


Brill with Coriander, Chilli & Lemon Dressing

 John Dory with samphire

(Serves 2)


2 fillets of Brill

Bunch of Coriander

1 red chilli

1 clove of garlic

1 lemon

Olive oil




  1. Chop coriander, garlic & chilli
  2. Juice lemon and put in a bowl with the coriander, chilli and garlic
  3. Add olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Taste for seasoning and leave to infuse while fish is cooking
  5. Heat a frying pan on the hob until good and hot
  6. Brush the olive oil onto the fish and season
  7. Place the fish, flesh side down on the pan-it should sizzle
  8. When the fish “domes”, turn it and cook for a couple of minutes on the skin side
  9. Remove to a warm plate and drizzle with the coriander and chilli dressing


Serve with oven roasted potato wedges and salad or green vegetables such as asparagus or tender stem broccoli


Oven Roasted Potato Wedges


  • Preheat oven to 180*C


  • Cut potatoes into wedges (Roosters are best for this)


  • Place on a baking tray with salt & pepper and drizzle olive oil over


  • Cook for 20-30mins or until soft